The Institute for Democracy & Leadership in Africa (IDEA) has launched an exercise of securing 1-2 million signatures nationally to petition parliament to change the constitution to allow for “Rotational Presidency.”
The exercise conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Leadership in Africa (IDEA) in collaboration with Bunge la Wanainchi and other civil society organisations has started in earnest. It will take between one to three months and will be carried out in all the 47 Counties country wide.
According to a recent research conducted by IDEA, many Kenyans prefer a rotational presidency which will provide sanity and political stability in the country especially at a time when Kenyans are being pushed into tribal alliances by the politicians. Many Kenyans feel that from the post election violence of 2007-8, Kenya needs a system of governance which provides opportunities for all Kenyans to participate equally without being discriminated against or manipulated and classified as majority or minority.
Such a system shall promote equity, real power sharing and unity among the people. It will also create effective governances and management of public resources as per Article 43 of the Kenyan constitution. The rotational presidential system will also be democratic in the sense that it will eliminate tribal alliances whereby two-three major tribes gang up to deny other minority tribes the opportunity to gain the presidency.
Kenya has a population of nearly forty million people and comprises of nearly 45 communities including Kenyans of the Asian and European origin. The presidency should not be a preserve for a few communities at the expense of the minority in the name of democracy. Even Mijikendas, Dorobos, Ogieks, Tesos and Indians among others, have a right to serve the country’s top position of the presidency.
Even though Kenyans ushered in the new constitution with jubilation and excitement, the constitution should be amended to create room for a rotational system to avoid conflict, displacement, destruction of property and unnecessary loss of lives as witnessed in 1997 and 2007-8.
During the Bomas of Kenya constitution making conference of 2002-3 Kenyans preferred a non- executive presidency. Their desire was thwarted by the same politicians now crusading for change and reforms in the country and yet only serving and fighting for their own selfish interests and ambitions.
The constitution needs to be amended urgently and a new system put in place to create a good environment for a peaceful and democratic transition during the coming general elections in 2012.
Rotational presidency has worked in Tanzania at party level. In Nigeria, the presidency is rotational regionally in the sense that both the South and the North are represented effectively in the government as President and Vice President respectively. In Sudan, the late Dr. John Garang Mabior of SPLA/ SPLM preferred rotational presidency for good governance and unity of the people of Sudan. In Burundi where there are major tribes, a similar practice has been adopted whereby presidential system exchanges between Tutsis and Hutus respectively.
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